Google Makes Blackberry’s Usable (and Enjoyable)


I admit it. I still have a Blackberry instead of an iPhone. And I love my Blackberry (and so does my 1 year old daughter). It doesn’t help that I’ve sold my soul to Verizon and AT&T has poor coverage in this area of Western North Carolina. I have an iTouch, so don’t take away my geek cred.

However, things such as Google Sync and the GMail app make having a Blackberry beyond bearable and actually enjoyable. The ability to sync Google Calendar with my Blackberry’s Calendar over the air is tremendous.

And now there is an impressive new update to Google Sync that also allows you to sync your Blackberry’s contact manager with your GMail contacts. Sweetness:

Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Sync for BlackBerry: Now with contacts: “You asked for it, so here it is. We’re happy to announce that in the latest update to Google Sync for BlackBerry, we’ve added two-way contacts synchronization. This new functionality will enable you to sync your handheld’s built-in address book with your Gmail contacts. This all happens in the background and over the air, so your information is always up to date, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.”

Now I can sync my calendar, contacts, mail and to do list (via Remember The Milk’s awesome RSync Blackberry app) over the air. Not to mention I can check Google Docs, Google Reader and Evernote all from my device.

All of a sudden my Blackberry just became a complete cloud computer.

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iPhone and Touch Apps for Parents


I’ve been doing lots of daddy day care for my 1 year old daughter this week, so this a topic definitely on my mind…

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW): “Baby Monitor Did you forget to bring Jr.’s monitor to Grandma’s house? Put your iPhone next to his crib and launch Baby Monitor. When he starts to wail like a banshee, Baby Monitor calls a pre-determined number, like Grandma’s landline. Baby Monitor costs $0.99US.”


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AOL Opening Up to Growth


Bill Wilson, AOL’s EVP of Programming, emailed me a followup to my post on AOL’s recent successes to let me know that the new comScore Media Metrix reports were out.

AOL had significant growth both in the passive page view metric as well as the more active attention metrics. New visitors and users were also both up 9% this year over last.


The corporate press release with all of its statistical goodness can be found here:

AOL Sites Hit Record Audience Reach and Engagement in October | AOL Corporate: “AOL programming sites hit all-time high traffic numbers and marked the 21st month of consecutive year-over-year growth for unique visitors, according to the October 2008 comScore Media Metrix report. Unique visitors to AOL’s programming content sites grew 7% year-over-year to 54.3 million in October, and page views more than doubled, up 101% year-over-year to 4.2 billion. Engagement (total minutes) grew 51% year-over-year in October. Total minutes reached an all-time high on,, growing 27% year-over-year. Additionally, page views grew 27%, and unique visitors and total visitors were up 9%, year-over-year, as the site further opened up to third-party content, services and features. In addition, AOL Webmail,, reached an all-time high of 3.5 billion page views marking a 31% year-over-year growth. “

As I wrote in my post last week, AOL is on the right path with their decision to open up and allow existing and new users to leverage the homepage as their home base for the web. We’ve recently seen Yahoo and just this week Microsoft’s follow in similar paths as well as Google with the iGoogle platform.

I don’t think we’re in a return phase of the “power of the portal,” but we are seeing the metaphor of the portal being expanded to encompass social media and social networks and real time (AIM) data deliverability and consumption.

Pay attention to AOL and Platform-A.

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Loa Power Tools: Haven’t Heard of It? You Will


I frequently mention Loa Power Tools on podcasts, but I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about it.

I’ve been a subscriber for the last six months or so and I can’t tell you how frequently Loa saves my rear when trying to send an email from a wifi hotspot, airport, university building, etc that doesn’t want to work well with my email client.

Or if you have an AT&T DSL line at your office space like I do, you know the frustration of trying to send out through an SMTP other than AT&T’s designated one. Loa solves that.

Yes, I do love and use GMail, but there’s the whole business aspect of not looking professional when you have the “sent from GMail on behalf of” in the header. Sure, I could go with Google Apps, but I’ve got 4 years of mail archived in my personal GMail account. Loa solves a huge problem there as well (and there’s a special plan for GMail users).

And that’s why I like Loa Power Tools. It’s a problem solving application for power email users that you don’t notice running in the background because it does what it needs to do quietly.

Just thought I’d plug the service (no, this is not a paid advertisement, I’m just a fan) because it’s an unsung hero of my daily work flow. Go read more and give it a shot if you need this sort of a solution (and who doesn’t with the ubiquity of wifi hotspots these days?)…

Tell me more about Loa PowerTools: “Loa PowerTools is a tiny utility that lets you send email from any internet connection anywhere. Once it is installed, you don’t have to change your life at all. You can use whatever email software you prefer: Outlook, Mac Mail, Thunderbird … it doesn’t matter, but Loa PowerTools will send your mail out through the Internet in a way that can’t be stopped by any but the most aggressive firewalls. And by ‘aggressive’ we mean firewalls in secure places where you wouldn’t expect to be able to have much Internet contact with the outside world.

It’s particularly useful for laptops. Without Loa PowerTools, when you travel from connection to connection, you never know what mail server to use to send mail. You often have to spend a lot of time fumbling around to find the address of an SMTP server that will let you connect. Even if you can find one that would let you connect, more and more often these days the network you use won’t allow any mail at all. The provider of the connection deliberately blocks all outward-bound mail. The detective work you have to do is exhausting and often fruitless! You never know from one trip to the next whether you will be able to send email when you are at your destination hotel, in a conference room or an airport lounge or using some other publicly available network. And as the number of malicious exploits around the Web increases, the problem is only getting worse: network operators are being forced to become more and more protective of their networks.”

Plus, they take PayPal. Can’t beat that. Tell ’em uncle Sam sent ya.

Read More Interesting Affiliate Model


The new rage for some of the shopping-centric affiliates and publishers is crowd source comparisons. Looks like is doing well with the model.

There is a nifty ajax interface, lots of options and the inevitable selling feature of the “deal feel.”

People Powered Price Comparison »

1. Find the best price you can online

2. Visit

3. Enter the details

4. See if someone has found it cheaper elsewhere

5. Save! (otherwise your price becomes the one to beat)

I expect to see more and more of these as the deal space heats up with the faltering economy.

AppScout also has some info on the site.

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Thunderbird’s Affiliate Program

Mozilla is best known for Firefox, but for fans of open source, sanity and alternatives to Outlook (or Evolution on Ubuntu), Thunderbird is a popular choice.

And now Thunderbird has an affiliate program to spread the good word (although you get points and pride, not cash… so it’s more for the fanboi’s than the serious affiliate business person).

Affiliates Home | Mozilla Thunderbird – Reclaim Your Inbox | Mozilla Thunderbird – Reclaim Your Inbox: “SpreadThunderbird offers a simple affiliates program (Beta) that enables members to support Thunderbird and earn fame and prizes.

SpreadThunderbird’s Affiliate Program is not the only program to help drive Thunderbird downloads.

We’re also interested in seeing more of these kinds of affiliate programs and if you’re interested in starting a similar program, please contact us”

I’m glad to see something like this, even if it is geared towards the diehards and fans.

I’ve been an off and on user of Thunderbird over the past few years and it is a viable competitor to Apple Mail or Outlook. While it doesn’t have native support on these platforms, the features often outweigh those costs.

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Amazon Updates Deals Widgets

Amazon continues to make interesting and noteworthy improvements to its associates program. I wrote off the ability make any money with Amazon a few years back because of my own lack of success with their offerings on my affiliate sites.

However, I’ve been using Amazon more and more with great results on click-thru’s. They have so many options for affiliates and publishers (esp in niche categories that aren’t serviced well by traditional affiliate networks (which is a funny term to use since Amazon had an early affiliates program…but I digress).

If you haven’t given Amazon a shot in a while, you might want to reconsider.

Here’s an email sent out to associates/publishers this morning with details on new Deals widgets:

Dear Amazon Associate:

As you’re gearing up for the holiday season, don’t miss out on the new and improved Deals Widget. Now you can display the hottest deals from Amazon on your web page. The Deals Widget lets your users browse discounted items and ongoing promotions from the product category of your choice.

The new widget lets you display the deals most relevant to your website to improve customer retention and conversion.


Deals by Category
You can now configure the widget to display discounted items and promotions from any category of your choice! Simply use the drop down to select a specific category and we’ll keep the widget updated with the latest deals from that category. Remember that your viewers are more likely to click through a widget when the deals are relevant to the theme and topic of your site. You can now use the ‘Deals by Category’ feature to place relevant Amazon deals throughout your site.


Gold Box Deals
You can continue to display Gold Box deals using the Deals Widget. Gold Box deals are limited quantity offers that run for a specified time. The Gold Box deals widget lets your viewers browse through the latest Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals and Our Best Deals.

Multiple Sizes
The Deals Widget is available in a variety of standard sizes and can be placed anywhere on your site. Available sizes include: Sidebar (120×400, 160×400), Large (250×250, 300×250, 336×280) and Banner (468×60, 728×90).

Create a Deals Widget in just a few clicks. If you want to display a list of handpicked products, be sure to try out the My Favorites, Carousel, and Slideshow widgets.

If you have any questions or feedback on this feature or the Associates Program, please contact us via the contact form. We want to hear from you!


The Amazon Associates Program

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Yahoo Gets Into the Performance Marketing Space


Yahoo announces their Yahoo Deals platform:

Yodel Anecdotal » Blog Archive » Have I got a deal for you: “Retail isn’t all doom and gloom. While total spending may drop this season as consumers guard their net worth, Forrester Research predicts that online shopping will actually rise 12% over last year, mainly because half of online shoppers anticipate that the best values and deals will be found on the Web. And it goes without saying that they’ll also avoid the stress of crowded malls and long lines when they log on in their pajamas.”

Similar to Microsoft Cashback, the aim is to help consumers find the best deals for popular products.

Should be interesting to see how well they do with this…

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The Valley Still Doesn’t Get Performance Marketing


Nick Denton, head of Gawker Media (which is the umbrella for such wide-read and influential blogs as Lifehacker, i09 (one of my favs), Gawker, Valleywag, Fleshbot, etc) writes about the coming online advertising apocalypse…

Doom-mongering: A 2009 Internet Media Plan: “Internet advertising is by no means immune. Advocates of the internet claim that the sector is both more mature than it was during the last downturn; and it’s more ‘measurable’ than other media. They hope to avoid a repeat of the 27% decline in 2000-2002. Good luck with that. The sector’s maturity also means that its underlying growth is more sluggish than it was in the late 1990s. In 2001, internet advertising swung to a 13% decline from 78% growth the previous year; this time the sector starts from a growth rate of 27%; I would hate to see what a swing as violent as the dotcom burst would look like. As for the measurability of internet media: sure, marketers and their agencies can track engagement and clicks in great detail online; but it’s still only television advertising that can demonstrate a correlation between spending and a boost to a marketer’s sales.”

What Denton and Calacanis, etc fail to come to grips with is that the model of ad welfare which has supported the Silicon Valley lifestyle and worldview over the last 5 years of web2.0 is not (and has never been) the reality of actionable advertising or marketing.

Despite Calacanis’ dire predictions of affiliate marketing’s irrelevancy at Affiliate Summit West ’08, there is a brighter future for the industry compared to what the Valley will have to endure in the coming years.

Welcome to reality. Have a seat. Enjoy the view.

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You Got Your Basecamp in My GMail


I talk about Basecamp a good deal here.

And there’s a good reason for that… it’s essential for web workers (which means all online marketers and/or entrepreneurs) as an end-all-be-all of productivity, project planning, organization, todo lists, whiteboards, etc.

Now, you can add your Basecamp projects to GMail via Periscope via Labs. I’ve tried it… it’s tremendous:

Gmail Gadgets: Add Your Basecamp Projects to Gmail: “To enable this gadget, you’ve got to have a Basecamp account with the API enabled, a Periscope account (which stores your Basecamp login information), and Gmail Labs’ Gadgets by external URL feature enabled. Got all that? Once you’re there, head to the Gadgets tab in Gmail and copy and paste the Periscope Basecamp Gadget URL in, and then your sidebar will display your Basecamp projects as pictured.”

Yes, my GMail tab looks like a crazy narcissist took over the place since I have my Calendar, Docs and Remember The Milk Gadgets going along with the occasional chat (I use GTalk within GMail for AIM and Google chat)…not to mention the steady deluge of email.

Nevertheless, I feel as if I’m getting somethings done with this approach.

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“iPhone Apps are my Crack”

My pal Joe Magennis does a weekly podcast called “Overflow” with Cameron Watson and it’s a must listen if you’re into the tech/geek/marketing space.

This week is all about the iPhone App platform, but they do a great job of covering various topics:

iPhone Apps are my Crack | Overflow: “This week our topic is about the iPhone apps that we are using and how the device has changed our lives. “

We all need more podcasts to listen to, so add this one up to your queue along with GeekCast, GeekTo.Me and AffiliateThing.

Plus, the music on Overflow is A+ b/c of Joe’s excellent taste.

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